Tragically, the same day the sporting world lost one of its greatest pugilists in Joe Frazier, the world of hip-hop lost one of its greatest performers: Heavy D. The rap legend was only 44 and leaves behind a daughter.

According to a Los Angeles police department representative, Heavy died around 1 PM today in L.A.. At about 11:25 AM, an ambulance arrived at Heav's house at the 400 block of North Maple Drive in Beverly Hills; Heavy D had been having trouble breathing and collapsed in a hallway. When paramedics arrived, Heavy was conscious but still having difficulty breathing. He was taken to nearby Cedars Sinai Medical Center and later died from what authorities are referring to a "medical situation."

A press release released by the Beverly Hills Police Detectives conducting the death investigations for Heavy D says D was returning home from shopping and began experiencing difficulty breathing while walking into his condominium building. He was being assisted up to his apartment by building personnel when he collapsed in an exterior hallway. The exact cause will be determined by the LA Co. Coroner's Office; police have ruled out any foul play.

[Celebrities react to Heavy D's death below.]

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After several years of keeping a relatively low profile, Heav seemed to be gearing up for a comeback. Just this past September, he released a LP on iTunes called Love Opus and in early October he rocked the crowd at the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta, surprising all with a medley of his hits. Heavy, who had lost a considerable amount of weight since his debut in the late '80s, still had grace when dancing and a commanding presence. That same weekend, he was one of the many celebrities in attendance for a brunch in honor of T.I.

As the leader of Heavy D & the Boyz, the husky MC, who was the first rapper to join forces with Michael Jackson on the song "Jam," debuted in 1987 with his album Living Large on the legendary imprint Uptown Records.  Heavy immediately became a fan favorite with his song “The Overweight Lovers in the House” and was lovingly dubbed “Overweight Lover” for his entire career.

Through the years,  Heavy D, who became synonymous with party anthems and songs that appeal to the ladies, was one of the most loved rappers of all-time with universally-embraced hits such as “Nothing But Love,” “We Got Our Own Thang” and “Is It Good To You.”

Heavy D's last tweet was posted just 16 hours ago and reads the uplifting words, "Be inspired." His descriptions on his Twitter page were none other than "In the moment" and "I have relentless optimism." —Shaheem Reid

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